Which player will step up and lead his team to the Super Bowl?
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are loaded with potential MVP contenders. They're the two best teams in the league, so as you'd expect, they have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball.
It makes the Super Bowl MVP race that much more interesting.
Looking at each team's roster, the three players below have the best shot to take home MVP. Also included is one player from each team with only a minor chance of earning the honor, but they could pull it off nonetheless.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
TV Info: FOX
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Spread: Denver by 3, according to Bovada
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Percy Harvin has been cleared to play, according to Jayson Jenks of The Seattle Times. The veteran receiver returned in the divisional round against the New Orleans Saints but was knocked out of the game. Harvin then missed the NFC Championship Game, and in his place Doug Baldwin thrived.
The 25-year-old caught six passes for 106 receptions against the San Francisco 49ers. It was his best performance this season, and he accounted for a third of the Seahawks' total offense (308 yards).
Tyson Langland, Bleacher Report's NFC West lead writer, thinks Baldwin is the most important wideout on Seattle's roster:
Nevertheless, pundits shouldn’t pigeonhole Baldwin. Even though the numbers suggest otherwise, he is one of the most gifted and complete wide receivers in the NFL. Shoot, in my eyes, Baldwin will be the unsung x-factor for the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
His play has picked up in a big way after a subpar outing against the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs, and he currently means more to the Seahawks’ passing attack than any other wide receiver on their roster.
Six wide receivers have won Super Bowl MVP, with the last being Santonio Holmes in Super Bowl XLIII. What's interesting is that the only position other than quarterback to have won the award since 2004 is wideout.
There's a good chance that in the event the Seahawks prevail, Russell Wilson won't have good enough numbers to warrant MVP consideration. However, one of his receivers, like Baldwin, could have a strong performance or make that one game-defining catch as Holmes did against the Arizona Cardinals.
Trindon Holliday, Denver Broncos
This one is really out in the dark, but Desmond Howard won MVP, right?
Trindon Holliday has had problems holding on to the football, but most of those problems have come on punt returns. The Broncos have taken him off punt return duty, leaving him to focus solely on kick returning.
One trip to the end zone is all it will take for Holliday to break this game open. If the Super Bowl is as close as the spread predicts it to be, then a return touchdown could be the difference for the Broncos.
Holliday has the speed to break a big play any time he touches the ball.
3. Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
As much as some people may despise Richard Sherman, every NFL fan has to acknowledge his talent. If you don't believe that he's the top cornerback in the league, then he's at least one of the best.
Sherman isn't afraid to be brash, but he at least backs up his talk. When he says he's gonna shut down Michael Crabtree, he shuts down Michael Crabtree. Sherman's deflection of the pass headed for Crabtree is one of the lasting images from the NFC Championship Game.
The Super Bowl will be a great showcase for Sherman. Denver has a wealth of talented receivers who are all capable of wreaking havoc on the Seahawks secondary.
A cornerback has won Super Bowl MVP once—the Dallas Cowboys' Larry Brown in Super Bowl XXX—but should Seattle shut down the high-powered Broncos offense, Sherman will get the lion's share of the credit.
2. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Have you heard of this guy? Peyton Manning? There hasn't been a lot talked about him in the buildup to the Super Bowl.
It would be a major shock for any other Bronco to win MVP should Denver lift the Lombardi Trophy. Manning is the unquestioned leader of the team and the engine of what was a record-breaking offense.
Even if Manning has an average performance, many will likely praise his ability to brave the elements and manage the game well. So many people love Manning, so they'll look for any excuse possible to try and let him go out on top if this is the last game of his career.
1. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
The wintry weather may force this game to turn into a physical battle where both quarterbacks are unable to move the ball through the air with much regularity.
That would play right into the hands of the Seahawks.
Marshawn Lynch is one of the best running backs in the league, and his ability to get the tough yards up the middle would be a huge asset.
A running back hasn't won Super Bowl MVP since Terrell Davis in 1998.
But Lynch will likely have much more of an impact on the game than Wilson will, and his propensity for highlight-reel runs could steal the show in New Jersey.
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